By Edward O'Hara

Fruit is not works and works are not fruit. So when you read Mark4 or Mt.13 or Luke8 where Jesus taught about the sower sowing the word, or anywhere fruit is spoken of in the Bible in regard to what believers are expected to produce, we need to be aware of this.

The gnostic believes that his flesh is evil. And there is no redemption for it. When he is done with it he believes he will have ascended from it to become one with the divine.

As a gnostic Augustine read this belief directly into the Genesis narrative. This is what Pelagius, a contemporary with Augustine and his most ardent protagonist, discovered as he heard Augustine proclaiming his beliefs. Finding that it was when Adam sinned by eating the fruit that his flesh and all of the material world became evil. Made a sinner by nature because of his evil flesh.

Thus creating for him and so many who have blindly followed his teachings a narrative that rejects the plain language of the Genesis account. Making works the reason man has become evil by nature. And works the necessary formula for his transformation into Godhood. Or as the gnostic puts it, becoming one with the divine.

This is why to the gnostic works are the fruit we read about in the Bible that even Jesus said will show whether you are a child of God, or a child of the devil. Augustine taught, and Roman Catholicism proclaims, that to be one with the divine in the sense of becoming God was the reason Jesus came. In her catechism she states that “Jesus became a man so that men might become Gods.”

This is the logical conclusion all must come to when they believe Augustine’s teachings. Why? Because all gnostics believe that when we put off the material, the flesh, we become one with the divine. That we become God. And that while in these evil bodies our works show that evil has dominion over our bodies.

This is how the sin nature doctrine came to be. Through the acceptance by Roman Catholicism and her daughters of Augustine’s gnostic heresies of original sin and sin nature.

But, how do we know that fruit is not works? The word of God tells us plainly that they are not. This is always how we are to determine truth from lies. By comparing what we have believed with what the Bible plainly says.

As for me I appeal to the very words of Jesus about fruit in Mt.12:33-37. Here He says,

“33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.

34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.

36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”

See how Jesus says fruit is the words we speak that come from our heart? And not that it is something they should have been doing? This is important to understand what Jesus taught regarding the word sown in a man’s heart.

Because if we believe He is saying that our works are the fruit that shows we are saved. Then guess what? You have believed in salvation by works. And that it is because of bad works that the word sown in the man’s heart did not culminate in his salvation.

The belief that fruit is works likely as not means you do not yet know Jesus or His deliverance from death to life. Or at the very least are deceived and your understanding of the rest of God’s word is suffering greatly for it.

Paul plainly teaches in his epistles that men are saved not by works, but rather, by grace through faith(Eph.2:8,9). Saying also in Rom.10:9,10 that it is by confessing the Lord Jesus, and believing He has raised from the dead men are saved. And also in Gal.2:16 that trusting in Jesus as He trusted the Father is our righteousness.

So clearly Paul understood what Jesus taught Israel about fruit. Never equating them with works. But, always with faith or believing. So that when we read in the parable of the sower in these gospels and see Jesus saying “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.” We know that their falling away is caused by their unbelief. And has nothing to do with naughty behavior. Because to bear fruit is to believe. Not works.

This is exactly what Jesus was teaching Israel in John15 as well. Here He was showing them that while they were already in a covenant with Him by saying they were branches in Him who is the vine. They would be taken out and cast into the fire if they would not believe in Him.

He said this to show Israel that now that their messiah had come only by believing in Him as their messiah could they continue in a covenant with Him. And if they would not believe in Him they would be taken away and cast into the fire. Because by His death the Old Covenant has passed away. And a New Covenant has come to power in it’s place.

So these did not lose their salvation. They never had it. Even though they had a covenant with God that promised them that a deliverer would come to save them from their sins. Because to be saved from those sins they committed while under the law once and for all time they had to bear the fruit of believing in Him. Once and for all time because Jesus was the final sacrifice for sins under the law.

This is why John said in 1John1:9 that they were to confess their sins to Jesus to be forgiven of all sin cleansed from all unrighteousness. This confession was necessary because in it they not only acknowledged their sins under the law. But, more importantly they showed that they trusted in Jesus for eternal life.

Jews did not practice confession of sins under the law. They sacrificed animals. So this confession of their sins to Jesus was something new to them. And by it they were made righteous by trusting in Jesus as He had trusted the Father. Just as Paul told them in Gal.2:16.

As the final sacrifice His death finished the law so that it could pass away. This is why on the cross Jesus said “it is finished”. By this He gave power to a New Covenant wherein all men can be delivered from death to life. By grace through faith and not by works. To have eternal life and immortality.

It’s a very human thing to depend upon our works for righteousness. Because the flesh thinks in terms of works. Especially for Israelites who were under the law.

And pretty much everyone has heard that if you want something in this life you must work for it. And for everyone who does something nice for someone else it makes us feel good. It appeals to the flesh. But, God has ordained that salvation only comes by grace, which is His love in action that caused Him to come as a man to join with us in our death.

And also that it would be by faith without works so that that good feeling that appeals to the flesh would not play any role in salvation. And by this God made our righteousness for eternal life solely dependent upon our relationship with Jesus. Rather than how good or bad our behavior may be or may have been.

This is why Paul taught in 1Cor.1:21, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Because it is by preaching the word of God that the gift of faith to trust in Jesus is given to men. Because faith comes by hearing. And hearing, that is the ability to hear, comes by hearing the word of God.

This ability to hear grows in direct relation to the time we spend meditating upon, reading, and hearing God’s word. The Bible. Because it is most generally through His word that He speaks to us.

We must not depend upon dreams and visions to hear God speak to us. Because that is the devil’s playground. For he is the prince and power of the air. The natural realm.

So even if we have some dreams or visions we believe may be from God. The only way to know for sure is to lay those dreams and visions up against the word of God.

This is why Paul said in 2Cor.13:5 that we must “examine ourselves to see whether we be in the faith.” Because it is by comparing what we believe with the word of God that we can know this. And where we may have deviated from what God’s word says we must bring those thoughts into subjection to Christ. By lining up what we have believed with what God has said in the Bible.

And because the Bible tells us that we are saved by grace through faith, we must not believe anyone or anything that tries to convince us that works have anything to do with it. Not our works or anyone else’s.

Because as Paul said in Rom.11:5,6, if it is by works then it can not be by grace. Otherwise grace is not grace. And vis a versa. This is why to run the race to win the prize is bringing your flesh into subjection to Christ. As Paul writes in 1Cor.9:24-27 is to deny it the belief that because works make the flesh feel good that is righteousness.

So bearing the fruit unto righteousness is simply trusting in and confessing the Lord Jesus. And when the word sown bears fruit the fruit is confessing the Lord Jesus and believing He has raised from the dead. Thus making works of any kind done by anyone meaningless as it relates to the righteousness that is eternal life.

And I want to be clear that just because behavior or works have no affect on our salvation does not mean we should behave badly. To the contrary, Paul writes in Rom.6 that when we sin or behave badly we give it power over us to enslave us. Enslaved by becoming habits that are hard to break. So he asks why would we who have been made free from this kind of sin go back into slavery to it?

Also something we need to be sure to notice here is that Paul is not saying that if you practice some bad habits it means you are not saved or that you have lost your salvation. He is saying to be enslaved to any bad behavior as a believer in Jesus you will be miserable because of it. Because you will be doing things you know do not reflect the love of Jesus that has been shed abroad in your heart.

And since the Holy Spirit is in you loving you, enslavement to bad behavior grates against your spirit. Making you miserable. Because in your spirit you know that the key to the real joy and peace you are trying to have by the bad habit, rather than the counterfeit that wrong behaviors bring, is love.

And this love is the fruit of the Spirit. Working out for us all the by-products of the fruit of love the joy, peace, gentleness, kindness, meekness, temperance, and long suffering spoken of in Gal.5:22,23.

The love that is in our hearts that causes the fruit of the words we speak to be good. As Jesus says in Mt.12:33-37. Without which the fruit would be bad. Not because a man is evil by nature as gnostics believe. But, because it comes from a heart that knows no real love.

Are the words from your mouth good or bad fruit? It depends upon the condition of your heart. Is your heart joined to Jesus by faith? Or have you rejected Jesus and His gift of eternal life?

Paul said if you will confess with your mouth(fruit) the Lord Jesus. And believe in your heart that He has raised from the dead. You shall be saved. This is the first “good fruit” that comes out of a man’s mouth. And shows that his heart, which is the tree bearing the fruit, has already been made good by believing in the gospel of Christ.

A gospel that tells us that He came as a man to join with us in our mortality. So that if we will trust in Him we will be joined with Him in eternal life and immortality by believing He has conquered death by the resurrection.

If you will do this you will be made a child of God and heir to His kingdom. If you will do this then eternal life will be yours now. And immortality in the resurrection. If you will do this… then I will see you there or in the air!

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